Another successful year for Probus draws to a close. Once again the programmes have been excellent and inspiring, The monthly meeting of friends offers a chance to renew acquaintances and catch up on the latest happenings. The Probus committees work very hard and the results are a well-run organization. It has been fun being your co-presidents this year and we wish you a happy and fun-filled summer. Our grateful thanks to all who helped make this year a success. Jill and Mary
Each table had fun completing an activity called ‘You MAY discover something new about someone at your table’ and we certainly did!
Jill reminded us that there are still committee positions to be filled for next year. She also thanked the South Gate volunteers who serve the coffee and tea at break every week.
Sharon Bale talked about the Getting to Know You Committee – it is a small time commitment, only 1 meeting per year. Committee members take turns attending the management meeting and introducing the members who will be speaking. They need one new committee member.
Geri Shearer informed us that the Program Committee will need three new members next year. Each member of the committee is responsible for finding and introducing a speaker for two general meetings. This is usually all done by the end of the summer. Also, if you have any suggestions for speakers, please pass the information on to the committee.
Norma spoke on behalf of the Special Events Committee, which will need two new members next year. This committee plans and sells tickets for the luncheons at Christmas, Valentine’s and the end of the year.
Lee Mroz told us that she and Dot Wells are stepping down from the 50/50 committee, after many years of selling us our tickets as we arrive. Our club will need two new members to look after this, starting in September.
There were 95 members in attendance. Two guests joined us – Sonya Dunlop with Elizabeth Coulson and Mary Aucoin with Mary Donlevy.
The annual final luncheon will take place on June 19 at the Elm Hurst Inn. Doors open at 11:30, the bar opens at 11:45 and the lunch buffet will start at 12:00.
Sue Courtney and Joyce McKinney will be retiring from this committee in June, so the committee will be looking for two new members.
Dale introduced Evelyn Dodds who joined Probus 6 months ago and who immediately stepped up and volunteered to be a vice-president.
She was born in Quebec to a French-Canadian family, but after the war her father decided that the family would be English, so from then on only English was spoken in the home and all schooling was in English. They moved around within Quebec for six years before emigrating to Brantford. Evelyn attended teachers’ college, married and moved north of Sudbury, then back south to Kitchener. She had two daughters. After the marriage ended in divorce, she worked in the botany lab at the University of Waterloo. She remarried and moved to Thunder Bay where she worked in a consulting engineering firm. She was unhappy with some things that were happening in her daughters’ school and she wrote a letter to the editor of the local newspaper about it. She received a lot of positive feedback from the letter, which resulted in the forming of the Action Committee on the Quality of Education. Some of the actions undertaken by the committee included bringing in speakers from around the province, occupying Queen’s Park, conversations with politicians. When the committee ran out of steam, some of the members ran for office and 4 of them were elected as trustees. They soon learned that there was no real power or decision making attached to this position. During teacher contract negotiations Evelyn received death threats and was subject to a variety of other negative actions, such as having her car tires slashed. She then ran successfully for city council where she spent two terms. For her the highlight was working on welfare fraud issues. In 1995 she ran in a provincial election but was unsuccessful in winning a seat. The family eventually moved to Toronto, where Evelyn worked for two terms on the Social Benefits Tribunal, presiding at over 3000 hearings. When her marriage ended she enrolled in history classes at the University of Toronto and she sat on the board of the Mississauga Symphony. She recently moved to Woodstock to be closer to her younger daughter and her grand-daughters.
We learned a week after the meeting that Evelyn had passed away just a few days after giving us this account of her life.
We also welcome new members. Elizabeth Brekelmans formerly worked as a Personal Support Worker and her interests now include Big Brothers/Big Sisters, golf, reading and gardening.
Carol Anderson worked as a manager of transportation and now enjoys golf, reading and playing cards. .
Marg introduced Janine Jackson, the Care and Service Manager at VON Sakura House.
The idea of having an end of life hospice in Woodstock was first proposed in 1983, but it wasn’t until 2000 that further action was taken. In 2005 Toyota donated a 12,000 square foot home and phase one of the capital campaign began in 2007, raising money and awareness. The name Sakura House comes from the Japanese word for cherry blossom and the annual spring festival celebrated in Japan. The first patient arrived at Sakura House on September 2, 2009.
The hospice has 10 beds, each in a private room. Each room also has a private patio, a bathroom, a sofa-bed, a fridge and a micro-wave, allowing family members to be with the patient. The facility also contains a family room, a media room and a large kitchen.
Comfort, care and pain management are provided around the clock by RNs, RPNs, PSWs, Social Workers and Palliative Care physicians. Follow-up services after death include support groups for adults, children and teens, caring circles and memorial services.
There are also a number of volunteer possibilities – front door, answering the phone, meal preparation and patient care. Training for these positions is required and provided.
Referrals to Sakura House are made through our local LHIN. There is no cost to the patients or their families. The average patient age is 72, with the range of ages going from 20 to 103 years. The average length of stay is 17 days. They receive an average of 170 patients per year.
It costs $1.4 million per year to run. OHIP only covers nursing staff and everything else comes from donors. A minimum of $600,000 donor dollars are needed annually.
Tours of the facility are offered daily from 8 AM to 7 PM.
Janine concluded by telling us that life is celebrated here – holidays, birthdays, anniversaries.
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This month’s winners were Cleo Bond and Karen Seguin.
May: Maureen Brankley and Sharon Harding
Wednesday, June 19, 11 am at Elm Hurst
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